The decision to press ahead with the controversial demolition of flats in Dundee has been slammed as “bad on so many levels” by a former councillor.
Jimmy Black, housing convener in the last administration, believes the decision to demolish the block on Blackness Road “doesn’t make sense”, as renovations would be cheaper. His successor says the council is looking to the future.
Dundee City Council is poised to file its request for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for the block with the Scottish Government.
If approved by ministers, the CPO will give the local authority the power to buy any flats in the building that it does not already own, at an estimated cost of £800,000.
Residents have until April 3 to tell the government if they formally oppose the move.
Mr Black claims renovating the late-19th Century flats would cost £1.3 million – about the same amount as the demolition.
The council puts the total cost of demolition and redevelopment at an estimated £4.5m.
Speaking to the Tele, Mr Black said: “The council is spending £4.5m to produce roughly the same number of homes which it is demolishing.
“It could have spent £1.2m, avoided evicting loyal tenants and assisted owners to create high-value, lettable flats in the West End. None of this makes any sense. On so many levels, it is a bad idea.”
However, Mr Black’s successor Kevin Cordell, said the decision to raze the block was “clearly not about the past and harking back”.
He added: “This is about producing bespoke affordable housing that meets the needs of tenants in the area moving into the next 50 years, not the last 50.
“We can look at ensuring the new build will be as energy-efficient and carbon-friendly as possible. When these properties are complete they will be a major asset for the area.”
The council’s decision in October 2017 to press ahead with the demolition attracted criticism from those who live in the flats and others, including Mr Black.
A claim that the majority of residents supported the move was cast into doubt when it emerged that several of those asked were landlords who didn’t live in the block themselves.